Spain climbs 20 positions in Doing Business ranking

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The Spanish economy has made it easier to start a business by introducing a common electronic system for several public agencies, which simplifies the process of registering a company. Furthermore, Spain has reduced the tax burden and has provided further facilities to deal with insolvency problems.

Eleven economies reduced profit tax rates, the second most common feature of tax reforms in 2013/14. These include 4 high-income economies (Portugal, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the United Kingdom), 3 uppermiddle-income economies (Colombia, the Seychelles and Tunisia) and 4 lowermiddle-income economies (the Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Swaziland and Vietnam). Reductions in profit tax rates are often combined with efforts to widen the tax base by removing exemptions and with increases in the rates of other taxes, such as value added tax.

Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain—all among the economies most adversely affected by the global financial crisis—have maintained a steady pace of regulatory reform. As Doing Business 2013 reported, the pace picked up in the aftermath of the crisis, and this year’s report shows that the trend has continued. In 2013/14 Greece reformed in 3 areas of business regulation measured by Doing Business, and Spain in 4. Greece made starting a business easier by lowering the cost of registration. It made transferring property easier by reducing the property transfer tax and eliminating the requirement for a municipal tax clearance certificate. And it made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

Italy and Spain also made starting a business easier. Italy reduced the minimum capital requirement, while Spain simplified business registration by introducing an electronic system that links several public agencies. Portugal lowered its corporate income tax rate and introduced a reduced corporate tax rate for a portion of the taxable profits of qualifying small and medium-size enterprises.

Spain reduced its statutory corporate income tax rate. Portugal made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure designed to reduce court backlog, streamline court procedures, enhance the role of judges and speed up the resolution of standard civil and commercial disputes. Spain made resolving insolvency easier by introducing new rules for out-of-court restructuring as well as provisions applicable to prepackaged reorganizations.

These economies, by actively reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes and strengthening legal institutions, are narrowing the gap with the regulatory frontier at a faster pace than the rest of the European Union.

About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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